Wednesday, April 30, 2014

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

The fact that I didn't wear pink today, of all days, will probably haunt me for years... maybe even decades. Unfortunately, the 10-year anniversary of the one and only Mean Girls fell on a week where I'm out of town (though not as far as Africa) so this all-too brief post is all you'll get from me. But really, what else is there left to say? I do think it's one of those films that has gotten better with age. It's super quotable (Boo, you whore!), smartly written, and just really fun. I actually can't believe that Tina Fey didn't get an Oscar nomination for the screenplay.

The greatest people you'll ever meet

Anyways four years ago, I blogged about my favorite shot from the film. The shot is above and you can read my post here. You can also check out what other people picked here and thereby relive some of the best moments from the film. Maybe in 11 years when the show turns 21 and the next time its anniversary will fall on a Wednesday, I'll be ready.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Colors of the wind...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

Today's film, in honor of Earth Day, is Disney's Pocahontas. Admittedly I had only ever seen it just once back in the 90s when I owned a lot of Disney animated films on VHS tapes (remember those?). But while I re-watched Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King over and over, I never did feel the need to revisit Pocahontas again until today. The historical inaccuracy didn't bother me as I knew little of the real story until years later, but the story itself did feel awfully simplistic and the Romeo and Juliet romance between Pocahontas and John Smith never really felt organic to me then and now. The one great thing I could and can say about the film is its beautiful animation, especially the painterly background and vistas showing off the New World in all of its glory--the glimmering waters, the majestic mountains, the tall trees. And that aspect of the film really stood out for me upon re-watch. I mean just look:

Gorgeous. Speaking of, Pocahontas looks really good especially when her hair is wind blown (nature as her personal wind machine for the win), which happens fairly often in the film, as you can see with the very top shot above this post and the two shots below:

My pick for best shot mixes the painterly with the wind blown hair of Pocahontas when she literally becomes a painting in the wind during the "Colors of the Wind" musical sequence:

My Best Shot

My runner-up shot (below), mostly because of how beautifully composed it is with its reddish pinkish purplish hues and dark shadows, is the darkest moment of the film with Kocoum falling into the water after getting shot by Thomas taking Pocahontas' broken necklace along with him:

Of course I would end this post on a down note, but that's also one of the things I admired about the film. The main couple don't actually end up happily ever after (which might be because they don't in real life), which was quite refreshing at the time.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Birthday Boy: James McAvoy

James McAvoy, one of my favorite actors, celebrates his 35th birthday today. Even at a relatively young age, he's done countless of stuff including award-winning TV series, Oscar-nominated films, and blockbuster movies. He's been nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA and recently won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards and British Actor of the Year at the London Critics Circle Film Awards. And yet, I still think he should be more popular and bigger than what he is now. Certainly he should've already been nominated for at least two Academy Awards for his performances in The Last King of Scotland and Atonement. His "snub" for the latter still gives me nightmares sometimes.

Maybe this year, he'll finally reach that next level of fame and success. First, he's back as Charles Xavier in X-Men: Days of Future Past and rumor has it he's the main lead. Then his award-winning film Filth will finally be shown for US audiences and I'm hoping the reception will be similar to what it got last year in Britain. Later in the year, he'll join Jessica Chastain in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby which was screened at the Toronto Film Festival last year to positive reviews. All three of these films would make my Most Anticipated Films of 2014 if I actually created such a list.

But really I just want all the best for him. I mean I've seen a good chunk of his filmography and will continue to do so. Out of his 19 post-2000 non-animated films that have been released in the US, I've seen 15 including his small, almost forgettable role in one of my guilty pleasure films Wimbledon (hello, huge tennis nerd here), which hilariously is the very first time I saw him in anything! I also thought he was quite excellent in the original, British versions of State of Play and Shameless and if you haven't seen them, you really should.

Happy Birthday James McAvoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

He tried to make love to me and I shot him...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

Not only is this the first time I saw The Letter, but this is also my first Bette Davis film ever. And golly, isn't she just something to behold? Her eyes in particular are striking, perfectly complementary to her stark surroundings. So my favorite shot actually came super early in the film...

Oh, it was all instinctive. I didn't even know I'd fired. Then I followed him out to the veranda. He staggered across the porch, grabbed the railing, but it slipped through his hand and he fell down the steps. I don't remember anything more, just the reports one after another till there was a funny little click and the revolver was empty. It was only then I knew what I'd done.

The shot is right after she has unloaded six bullets into the guy she was having an affair with (aka best character entrance ever). The moon is momentarily covered by the clouds as she stares at his lifeless body and then the clouds break and she turns her huge eyes up to the sky as if finally realizing what she had done. Of course, we learn later on in the film of the exact circumstances which leads her to this moment, but for now the audience is all eyes on her as it should be.

Below are a few more shots of Bette Davis' eyes (yes, yes I know)...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thoughts on Shameless, Girls, and Other Recent Finales

It's been a few weeks since I talked about anything TV related and that was me talking about the divisive How I Met Your Mother series finale. But that wasn't the only show I watched that ended its run this season during the past month, so I'd like to say a few words on them.

Shameless is one of my recent favorite TV shows so when I realized that its season finale was last week and I still hadn't watch any episodes from the past season, I had to get myself together and finally watch what new shit the Gallagher family was up to. For the past week, I watched and with every episode I kept being more and more impressed. Certainly the cast, especially its younger members, has been quite good since the beginning but they all seem to be better. Emmy Rossum and Jeremy Allen White in particular were this season's MVPs with Rossum expertly handling Fiona's descent to rock bottom and White balancing Lip's new collegiate life with his family's troubles back home. Even usually odious Frank had a storyline that enabled William H. Macy to play his character with a bit more humanity than usual. Apparently the show has decided to submit itself as a Comedy this year rightly thinking that the Drama category is way too packed, but it's strange it's also doing this with its most dramatic season yet. But if there was a show (other than The Americans) that deserve all the awards and praise it can, then this would be it.

Girls actually had its finale earlier in March, but I only saw the finale just a couple weeks ago. In any case, I thought it was a pretty solid season in terms of seeing the next evolution of Hannah as a person--stable relationship with Adam, working a corporate job--which of course couldn't last. In terms of getting all of the "girls" together, it was a mixed bag. Apart from a few instances like Hannah's birthday and the Hamptons episode (a stand out), the girls were mostly isolated from the others which makes sense in the real-life sense of these people not having that much in common, but also makes for a disjointed show. As it is we didn't get much of Zosia Mamet until the very end, which was a bit disappointing. I'm intrigued to see how next season will play out.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been an absolute delight and while I wished it hadn't ended early, we still had a full season of laughs with minimal breaks. To say I'm excited about what they'll bring next season would be an understatement. For me, every single character is just so fleshed out as well as how they relate to everyone else making it so that there's rarely a weak scene in the show. It's a show of surprises for me. Andre Braugher in a sitcom? Andy Samberg as the lead character? Gina becoming one of my favorite characters? Rosa and Charles' friendship not creeping me out? Jake and Amy's relationship giving me FEEEEEELS? Just talking about the characters is making me miss them so much.

Teen Wolf is not a perfect show by all means. The pacing of its season-long arcs are oftentimes frustrating and most of that is because a lot of the characters who should know better don't bother sharing key information with each other that would solve everything in a day or so. Fortunately, the cast is not just MTV-approved good-looking, but also quite talented so it's not such a drag watching the show even when the plots are. Dylan O'Brien was definitely the season's MVP playing a Stiles that was possessed by an evil spirit giving the actor something completely different to do and it was simply a joy to watch. The heartbreaking ending with Allison was just that and with the knowledge that the actress was leaving the show all along, I now wished they had given the dark spirit story to Crystal Reed as much as I love O'Brien's work. That also would've given that nogitsune storyline more weight since that ending was slightly anti-climactic (Stiles is fine after all of that? I guess.).

Walking Dead split its latest season in two with the latter part focusing on what everyone has been up to since the Governor's raid on the prison forced the group to splinter off into smallers groups. It enabled the show to highlight different sets of characters, locations, and stories for each episode and the variety quite effective after a couple of stagnating seasons. All of the different stories were tied towards their one goal of going to Terminus, a self-proclaimed haven where all the train tracks meet. And while the reunion was brief and incomplete in the last couple of episodes, it was still well worth the wait (who didn't squee with joy when Glen and Maggie finally saw each other again?). Obviously answering what exactly Terminus is will be the focus on next season, but I'm also looking forward to our heroes reconnecting and seeing how they've all changed after being separated. For example, Rick has given in to his darker instincts while Darryl seems to have grown feelings for Beth. There's also the harrowing journey that Carol and Tyreese went through plus the new "save the world" characters to address.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield in London

With Spring definitely in the air today in NYC, I thought it was fitting to post this recent picture of Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield being ridiculously good-looking and totally in love during the world premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in London yesterday. They're such a breath of fresh air, aren't they? Please, don't ever break up.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Looking Forward To...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Release: April 4, 2014
Distributor: Buena Vista
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Robert Redford, Emily VanCamp,and Samuel L. Jackson

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Magic's when I come together with my friends...

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

Since it's April Fool's Day, it was deemed appropriate to pick the film that was notoriously the first ever Razzie "winner" for Worst Picture, the 1980s bomb Can't Stop the Music, a glittery ode to the fictionalized origin story of The Village People. To be honest, I don't have much to say. A film this hilariously awful and campy is something to be seen to believe. For this post, I'm just going to limit my focus on the musical performances and my favorite shots from them.

This is from "Samantha" which is a song that Steve Guttenberg's DJ character puts on in the club getting everyone hot and bothered. Yes, that's a person dressed up as an "Indian" dancing in front of a rainbow. This movie is subtle like that.

The next number is a dream sequence of sorts (isn't the whole movie a disco-fueled dream sequence though?) where the hunky construction guy sings "I Love You to Death" to a group of totally fierce ladies. Here he's surrounded by them while they look straight to my soul.

I actually like the casualness of this next performance. It's the group's first impromptu group number taking place in someone's backyard. This shot, which is my pick for Best Shot, is from the very end of "Magic Night" and I think just encapsulates the sheer joy the movie tries so hard to force through the screen with every scene, for better or worse.

Ah, remember the good old days when you just fell into a heap of other sweaty guys after a good workout? This shot is at the end of the infamous "YMCA" number. It's actually not the most interesting shot from that PG-erotica sequence, but it caught my eye.

Her "Milkshake" brings all the boys to the yard. Easy joke. Shut up.

So... this guy is literally shooting out rainbows singing "Can't Stop the Music." And that brings us full circle. Now, help me get this song out of my head, please.